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Sexual Abuse Victims have an extreme need to be perfect



Mary DeMuth, published an article on her blog last week, How To Protect Your Children From Sexual Abuse. It is an excerpt from her book, Not Marked: Finding Hope & Healing After Sexual Abuse, that will be released on Amazon on February 10th, 2014.

I read her article.

I was sexually abused as a child.

I have read many articles on how to protect your children.

I read her article.

I read what Mary calls: her unscientific list of 8 reasons why  sexual predators prey on kids.

I read her four keys, “that may help you as you love and parent your kids, protecting them, yet still letting them be kids.”

In the middle of the second key, she listed some symptoms of sexual abuse.

One of the symptoms is:

Sexual Abuse Victims have an extreme need to be perfect.

After I read the list. After I read about the extreme need to be perfect, I felt like a woman who has been trying to make a puzzle. A puzzle that was missing a piece. A puzzle that has sat on the table for years. The woman searched and searched for the puzzle piece. She didn’t understand why making a decision was so hard.

Why did the woman not make up her mind? Why did she have trouble finishing what she started?

The puzzle piece the woman was missing had one word written on it.


If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Mr. Tolstoy, you are right. I am not content.

Somehow I think that if I can just make the right decision. No, the perfect decision, then I will be content.

I am continually searching for the “right” answer, the “perfect” answer.

This morning my husband and I went to open a post office box. There are two Post Offices close to our house. I couldn’t decide which one to use. One of the Offices was closer to our home, but the waiting room was small and the staff was not friendly. The other Post Office had a larger waiting room and friendly staff.

Trying to decide where to buy a Post Office box was hard. I wanted to go the Post Office where the lobby was large and the staff were friendly, but I thought I should go the Post Office where the employees were grumpy.  That it was important for me to work through my feelings of being uncomfortable. We drove to the Post Office close to the house, but when we pulled into the parking lot I felt very anxious, and I said, “Please go the other Post Office.”

I don’t have to put myself into situations where I feel uncomfortable. I can choose where I spend my money.

We have a Post Office box now. At the larger Post Office with the large waiting room and friendly employees.

I don’t completely understand why a person who was molested would have an extreme need to be perfect. Maybe we think if we are perfect we will be loved and accepted. As though the abuse was our fault.

My adult mind knows the abuse was not my fault. But  my view of the world was formed when I was a child, and until I reframe it with new thought patterns, the old ways stay.

We don’t have to be anxious. There is more than one right answer. We can have green beans or peas for supper.

And when we are not sure what to do, we can pray for help in every situation. “Dear God, please help me decide what vegetable to eat today for supper.”

If we ask, God will protect our hearts and our minds.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phillippians 4: 6-7

And the things we think of? We can focus our thoughts on truth.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Phillippians 4:8

And the truth is:

We can not be perfect. I can not be perfect. You can not be perfect.

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.
~John Henry Newman

I have done nothing for too long. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree.

Last week I delivered my paintings to the coffee shop. Most of them are hung. They don’t have to be perfect. They are me. They are mine. Not everyone has to like what I create. And that is okay.

I don’t want to be perfect. I just want to be me.

I don't' want to be perfect. I just want to be me.

Do you ever feel the need to be perfect? Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.

 How To Protect Your Children From Sexual Abuse. by Mary Demuth

My story 

Uncle Carl Molested me when I was eight  Warning Adult Content
Uncle Carl was not my uncle
“Mommy, I have a secret.”
My mother said, “I will kill Uncle Carl if I see him.”
Can I forgive the man who molested me?
Believe Your Children
17 ways I try and protect my children from perverts
Where is the grave of the man we called Uncle Carl?
If you molester is dead your charges are unfounded
Today I cried


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Abiola Olaleye

    Hmmm…I am imperfect but loved by a perfect God. I struggle too, sometimes because I want to be a perfect person- perfect wife and mother, no blemish, but the truth is..I am not.

    I read all about uncle Carl and I was touched in more ways than one. Every time I read about sexual abuse, the memories come rushing back. Someone I called ‘daddy’ who my parents trusted followed me into a loo and ‘touched’ me. It was all so wrong but I was powerless to do anything about it. He was my best friend’s dad in high school. That moment has stayed with me since. Then two male ‘friends’ made an attempt on me…needless to say I was scared of sexual intimacy for a very long time, didn’t help that hubby and I were were ‘greenhorns’ when we got married…I will find the words to share someday when the healing process is complete.



  • It took tremendous courage to write this. You are amazing. I am a perfectionist too, but it is because of my fear of being criticized, having been raised in a hypercritical home. Nothing was ever good enough. My kids help me with this, because they are so easy-going.

    • Hello Kathleen,
      You are good enough. I pray we can be strong and make a cake with not icing and not worry what someone will say or think of you. Your kids are wonderful. Just like their mother.
      Hugs to you dear friend.

  • Pamela, I agree with what Kath said. You are an amazing woman, weird, but amazing, because you eat peas and sardines.
    This evening I am going to open a bottle of bubble and raise a glass to all the imperfect woman in the world – every victim of this heinous crime. We know we are not perfect but we are loved for precisely our imperfection.
    We are courageous and beautiful and fabulous.

    • Patricia,
      And I will raise my a glass of warm water with no ice to you. My dear friend way over there in the warm sand and water.
      Yes, we are. Courageous, beautiful and fabulous.
      All my best,

  • kathunsworth

    Pamela you are a beautiful individual, not perfect but smart, talented, humorous, creative and loving. My wish for you is that you find inner peace. Sharing your art is a great start to show the world that the little girl has grown up and she is going to shine like never before.

    • Dear Kath,
      Thank you for your kind words. I always feel like hiding after I share something so personal. But, I hope my words help someone else. That’s why I write.
      Yes, the little girl has grown up. I am not my past.
      Hugs to you.

      • kathunsworth

        You are brave and in sharing you will touch others of that I am sure. Be proud, stand tall you are a woman of substance my friend.

  • Mary DeMuth

    Oh dear, you’re treading upon my issues. Even with releasing Not Marked, I’ve worried about typos and imperfections.

    • Mary,
      I will pray for you today. We don’t have to be perfect.
      We can be ourselves. Loved with our typos by a big God.
      All the best,

      • Mary DeMuth

        Amen about typos!

  • La McCoy


  • Pamela Black

    Dear Pamela, thank you for sharing yourself with the world. You will never know how much your words mean to me. You are helping me heal in profound ways. Hugs, friend.

    • Dear Pamela,
      You are very welcome dear friend, and fellow Pamela.
      I pray my words and the wings of angels help you heal. You are not your past. You are you. And that is a good and beautiful thing. You don’t have to be perfect. You get to be you.

  • renee

    My brave sister Pamela! Thank you!

  • Iya Hannum

    Dearest friend,
    These verses are among my favorites, and this is beautiful. Follow hard after where God is leading you… the future of this adventure will be beyond our wildest hopes and dreams!
    xoxo and grace and peace,